News - May 7, 2015

WUR council criticizes expanding lecture hours

Rob Ramaker

The WUR council is exceptionally critical on the proposal of Executive Board member Tijs Breukink to expand lecture hours. More efficient scheduling can, according to the co-participation council, intercept much of the increased space requirement.

Foto: Guy Ackermans

There are several objections to the broadening of lecture hours, says Marian Stuiver, chairman of the WUR council. 'It has already been known for long that students can focus less and less during the day.' Moreover it will, for the teaching and supporting staff, become more difficult to maintain a proper balance between work and private life. Students may also find difficulties with their social life or with a part-time job.

Stuiver thinks that even a small shift of the schedule from latest six to seven o'clock in the evening already, has adverse effects. 'That is exactly a bad time for education. Check with yourself, you are hungry and less concentrated.'

Students and staff members within the WUR-council indicate that a lot of space is empty in buildings.
Marian Stuiver

Breukink stated in Resource last week that expanding schedule times can be an inexpensive way to cope with the growth in student numbers. Last September, Wageningen University still intended to invest heavily in order to maintain teaching space in the Dreijen. Breukink however, sees looming shortages on the budget, since the ministerial contribution to the WU is not keeping pace with the increased number of students.

The WUR council now wants to list the different scenarios that accommodate the growth financially. Only then can a measured choice be made. Stuiver sees for instance that a lot of profit can be gained by more efficient scheduling. 'Students and staff members within the WUR council indicate that much space is empty in the buildings. There is a lot of under-utilization.' Possibly, education can also be given in empty DLO-spaces.

When it comes to Stuiver there will be a fundamental debate about the dilemma behind this kind of practical questions: 'Is growth a goal in itself to remain competitive or do we continue to distinguish ourselves on quality?'